Appeals from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Somerset County in case of North Star School District v. Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board and North Star Education Association, No. 375 Civil 1976.
William K. Eckel, for North Star Education Association.
Samuel D. Clapper, with him Nathaniel A. Barbera, and Barbera & Barbera, for North Star School District.
James Allmendinger, Assistant Attorney General, with him James L. Crawford, Assistant Attorney General, William G. Dade, Assistant Attorney General, and Donald A. Wallace, Assistant Attorney General, for Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers, Blatt and DiSalle. Opinion by Judge Blatt. Concurring Opinion by Judge Mencer.
[ 35 Pa. Commw. Page 431]
The North Star Education Association (Association) and the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (Board) appeal here from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Somerset County which reversed in part a final order of the Board. The North Star School District (District) had been found by the Board to have committed an unfair labor practice in refusing to submit a grievance to arbitration. The appeals of the Board and of the Association are herein consolidated.
Sometime before the beginning of the 1975-76 school year, which was to begin on August 25, 1975, the District adopted a school calendar calling for 180 teaching days. The teachers went on strike on the following day, August 26, and remained on strike until September 10, when classes resumed. Ten teaching days were lost, therefore, as a result of the strike. Negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement between the District and the Association continued for five months, and, when the parties finally executed an agreement for the 1975-77 school years in February 1976, it was back-dated to November 26, 1975 and it was made effective as of July 1, 1975.
The Association filed the grievance which is the subject of these appeals in June 1976, stating that the District's recently announced decision to schedule less than 180 teaching days for the 1975-76 school year was in violation of the collective bargaining agreement which called for 180 days of instruction annually. The grievance proceeded through the prescribed four-step procedure with the District denying the grievance at each step, and the Association finally requesting
[ 35 Pa. Commw. Page 432]
the District to submit the matter to binding arbitration as provided in step five of the procedure. The District refused.
In response to the District's refusal to arbitrate, the Association filed unfair labor practice charges with the Board, alleging that the District's refusal to arbitrate was a violation of Sections 1201(a)(1) and (5) of the Public Employe Relations Act*fn1 (PERA), 43 P.S. §§ 1101.1201(a)(1), (5). The Board held a hearing and later issued a final order finding that the District had committed an unfair labor practice and ordering the District to submit the grievance to arbitration. The District appealed to the court of common pleas, which reversed, holding that this grievance*fn2 was not arbitrable. This appeal followed.
In an appeal from a Board determination concerning the commission of an unfair labor practice, review by this Court is limited to a determination of whether or not the findings of the Board are supported by substantial and legally credible evidence and whether or not the conclusions deduced therefrom are reasonable and not capricious, arbitrary or illegal. In Re: Appeal of ...